Sunday, February 7, 2016


When I was a twelve-year-old girl in Germany, I spent a lot of time roaming the scenic countryside with Emil, our family dog.  Just my dog and I, sneaking under fences into meadows belonging to cows with gigantic bells around their necks, exploring streams and forests, getting lost too many times I'd like to admit, and having a great time at that.

Ever since my childhood I have felt almost naked when I walk without a dog.  A hike is not the same without a dog prancing happily ahead, or sitting by a river without a dog blissfully digging in the sand next to me.
When my old companion Pluto died a few months ago, he left a big hole in my heart, one I didn't think would ever be filled by a dog in the same way again.

And then little Raka weaseled herself into our life, bringing with it a tsunami of love and chaos.  This little puppy is bringing joy to the whole family, but I think it is I who is especially taken by her.  The happy bonding hormone oxytocin is coursing through my veins when I hold her, or even just talk to her.

I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that talking to my puppy involves elaborate baby talk (from me, not her).  I just can't help it.  My voice automatically shifts into blibber-blabber-squeaky-baby-talk, and when I asked my husband if I am annoying the heck out of him with it, he said he actually likes it.  But when I started talking to him like that, he might have peed himself a little laughing.

On our walks, Raka manages to insert herself into every picture, even when I try to just take a photo of a cool piece of bark with lichen on it.  Somehow, she shoots out underneath the ferns, and there she is.  Well, I guess "No Trespassing" signs don't apply to puppies. 


She is getting plenty of exercise playing with the kids or the neighbor's dog and going for walks.  When she gets too tired, I give her a lift.

Another great source of joy this week: FOOD!  I cannot tell you how well we eat in our home.  Last night, for example, I looked around the dinner table and was struck by how much of it was grown, raised, preserved and cooked from scratch on our land.  There was home made, slow fermented, no knead bread (I'm going to teach an online workshop on this soon), sprouts, dill pickles, my gouda cheese, kombucha...

We also made 23 pounds of pork sausage with the meat from pigs we raised with whey from my cheesemaking, organic grain and pasture.  I tell you, the house smelled fantastic because we fried up samples of each batch on the spot.  There was breakfast sausage with maple syrup, sage, ginger, thyme and nutmeg, and then there was caraway sausage with white wine, caraway, fresh parsley, onions, allspice and maple syrup, and of course kielbasa with lots of garlic and majoram.  Steve and I might have consumed the rest of the bottle of white wine we used for the caraway sausage, although it was only noon.  See how much fun sausage making is at our house?
The recipes for our sausage are in this blog post from last year.

Our life is so good.

I will leave you with images from an outing to our favorite creek down the road.  It's a magical, wild, joyful place.  

  How are you finding joy this week?


  1. I just love puppies, and as I am seriously craving a dog by my side (but traveling waaay too much for that right now) I will live vicariously through YOU! ooxx

    1. Ann, I wish I could put that delicious puppy breath smell into a container and send you a whiff of it!

  2. JOY you ask? I'm planning our new homestead! YES the cat's out of the bag! We gave 2 months notice at our caretaker job two days ago and now we're in full mode! We closed on the property Thursday. I am so joyful I hyperventilate. Then every 20 minutes I go into terror. What if we can't accomplish what we want? Then 20 minutes later I'm back to joy. Oh well now that I know the pattern I can accept the rollercoaster. We have 2-1/2 acres on arable land with plenty of water and a small house that needs updating. Roll up the sleeves!

    1. Yippieeee, Renee, how very exciting!!!!!!! Ride that rollercoaster, girl, it's normal to feel scared!

  3. What kind of meat grinder do you have? I'm going to check out your sausage recipe. My husband will eat sausage.

    1. If you go to my blog post from last year, I have a link to a meat grinder there.

    2. OK thanks. I'm not being lazy. I just had to go feed the critters (they were giving me the stink eye as in why are you continuing to sit at that blamed computer and not feeding us?) so now I'll go check it out. Danke.

  4. Sweet.
    Our "joy" is turning out to be quite a handful. But yeah, a joy it is for sure.


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